Difference Between Poison and Venom

Poison and Venom (both) are toxins i.e., substances that induce substantial harmful biological and physiological effects into the victim’s body. They are primarily used by animals to subdue their prey to defend themselves, but can also result in the victim’s death. They function effectively when delivered correctly.

Poison vs Venom

The main difference between Poison and Venom is that Poison is delivered to the victim’s body by means of touch, inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin, whereas Venom reaches the victim’s body via a bite or sting. Both substances subject the victim to biological harm and are effective when delivered correctly.

Poison and Venom

Poison is a toxin that is delivered by a poisonous organism into the victim’s body by means of touch, ingestion, absorption through the skin, and inhalation. Poisonous animals are unable to choose when to apply their toxins. Ingestion of poison is a scarce occurrence, absorption into the victim’s skin is the common way of transfer. 

Venom is a specialized type of poison that has evolved to be used for specific purposes. It is a mixture of small and large molecules, so to be effective, it finds its way into the bloodstream via a wound that is induced in the form of a sting or bite. 

Comparison Table Between Poison and Venom

Parameters of ComparisonPoison Venom
Mode of DeliverySecreted via skinActively injected via sting or bite
Means of Introduction in Victim’s BodyIngestion, Inhalation, Absorption through the skinVenomous molecules are injected into the bloodstream 
Purpose Behind ApplicationDeter potential predator/ Subdue preyKnock out or kill prey
Possibility of Selective UseNo possibility as poisonous animals cannot choose when to apply their toxinsCan be used selectively; Not all stings/ bites are venomous
Artificial PresenceLead, Arsenic, MercuryPharmaceuticals

What is Poison?

Poison is a biologically produced chemical/ toxin that causes substantial biological/ physiological harm to the victim’s body. It is used by poisonous animals to deter potential predators but is also capable of killing the victim. Because they inhabit a tendency of being passive-aggressive, poisonous creatures also secrete poison ergo of being disturbed via touch, or when eaten.

It is usually secreted through their skin, but in addition to absorption through the skin, it can also enter the victim’s biological system via ingestion and inhalation. Poisonous creatures cannot choose to be toxic at a particular time as they constantly produce/ secrete toxins. Thus, poisons can be absorbed through body tissue, but they’re also present in elements other than plants and animals.

Secretion of poison via the poisonous animal’s skin and its absorption by the victim’s skin is a common means of delivery, hence ingestion is a scarce occurrence. Poisonous creatures often use poison as a weapon to subdue their prey, or to deter possible predators. They cannot use it selectively. Numerous chemical elements like lead, arsenic, and mercury are also poisons, and not found in the body of any living organism. 

What is Venom?

Venom is a toxic substance/ chemical meant to induce biological harm into the victim’s body. It is primarily used by venomous animals (like snakes) to knock out or kill their prey. Its usual means of introduction into the victim’s body is a sting or bite via fangs, teeth, or spiny protrusions on the animal’s body. Being a mixture of small and large molecules, it enters the victim’s body via a sting or bite and then finds its way into his/ her bloodstream to act effectively. 

However, venomous animals don’t always inject venom when they bite. Referred to as ‘Dry Bites’, these wounds are stings/ bites which do not involve the transfer of venom from the venomous animal to the victim’s bloodstream. Thereby, venomous creatures do not produce venom constantly and have the ability to choose when to administer their venom.

Venom is not necessarily poisonous because it won’t cause harm when touched or ingested. To consider its modern applicability in the domain of pharmaceuticals, with advancements in scientific studies and researches, several venom components were used in the design of new therapeutic agents. Additionally, they were also taken in as experimental molecules to validate postulated therapeutic targets, which ultimately resulted in the improvement of several drug libraries. 

Main Differences Between Poison and Venom

  1. Poison is induced into the victim’s body by absorption through skin, inhalation, ingestion, etc. but Venom is directly induced into the victim’s bloodstream by means of a bite or sting.
  2. Poisonous Creatures produce toxins constantly and cannot choose whether to be toxic or not, but Venomous Creatures can often choose when to administer their venom.
  3. Poisonous Creatures inhabit a passive-aggressive tendency to response to threats, Venomous Creatures are more active in defending themselves.
  4. Poison moreover accomplishes the motive of subduing a natural prey or deterring a possible predator, whereas venom is more harmful because it is known to be strong enough to knock out as well as kill the victim.
  5. Poisons exist in the form of chemical elements like Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic, whereas Venom components are actively used in the domain of pharmaceuticals to design new therapeutic agents.


Both Poison and Venom are chemical substances that induce biological and physiological harm (or even kill) into the victim organism’s body. Poisons are produced by particularized cells/tissues and are alternatively obtained from the organism’s diet, but on the other hand, specific tissues or organs produce venom (for example, venom gland) which are then introduced into the prey/victim via a specialized apparatus (fang, stinger, teeth, etc.) by the venomous animal.

The pivotal difference lies in their method of delivery from the Poisonous/ Venomous Creature to the Victim’s Body, which then determines their effectiveness. While Poison is transferred via absorption through the skin, ingestion, and inhalation, Venom is injected into the victim’s body via a sting/ bite. Poisonous animals have no control over the poison content they secrete as toxins respond, so it is clear that they continuously secrete poison via their skin (as a result of being touched, disturbed, eaten, etc.)


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1874391912001340
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0041010183900557
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